STERLING, Va. (DC News Now) — Elaine E. Thompson Elementary School, the first three-story elementary school in Loudoun County, is now open. Students were greeted to their new school for the first time Thursday, August 25, with a celebration.

Nearly half of the school’s power is supplied by solar panels, a feat which has earned them honors from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Decarbonize Your Design Challenge.

Principal Tim Sparbanie, wanted to impress that the school would be keeping a longtime philosophy in mind, while also making bold new choices in designing the school.

“What I want people to keep in mind is that I’m a parent before anything else. I have five children. They’ve all gone through Loudoun County Public Schools. Two have graduated, but three are still in school. I’m bringing my son here for his fifth-grade year. I see things through the lens of a parent before I see them as an administrator. Our family is just as busy as you are. We travel around and do sports and activities. I understand the pressures that families face at home. We try to take care of the child here and alleviate a lot of those pressures at home.”

The school boasts state of the art physical structures and a collobrative philosophy. Their aim is to give students something strong and impactful to return to after months of shifting classroom environments.

“There are some emotional struggles. There are some just-getting-back-into-the-groove of school struggles. This last school year, having a child learn to grip a pencil was an issue because they had been on a computer for almost two years. Every child is unique and comes to us with different wants, needs and goals. We’ll look at where they are and then personalize our instruction to meet that child’s needs.”

The educators have worked closely with architechts to create a learning space fit for purpose, with the students needs in mind.